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On the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft, while their NFC West rivals were addressing needs in the first round, the Seahawks were having what coach Pete Carroll called a “quiet evening.”
That’s because for only the fourth time in franchise history, the Seahawks did not have a pick in the opening round. Instead, they already have Percy Harvin, the receiver/runner/returner who was acquired from the Minnesota Vikings last month in a three-pick trade – including the 25th pick in the first round.
As Carroll put it, “Percy is really our No. 1 pick this year.”
And a not-yet 25-year-old player who the Seahawks deemed better than any prospect they might have selected with that first-round pick. With the versatile talents that Harvin brings, his roles will be as limitless as the imagination of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell – who also worked with Harvin while with the Vikings before coming to the Seahawks in 2011.
But new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn doesn’t have to feel left out as the Seahawks prepare for Friday’s second day of the draft, when the second and third round will be conducted. Free agency delivered defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel as well as cornerback Antoine Winfield to a Seahawks defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL and ranked No. 4 in average yards allowed last season.
“I’d be lying to you if I said it doesn’t because we grade for it and we build our (draft) board off of our team, we don’t build it for the league,” general manager John Schneider said of the bearing the offseason moves had on the team’s draft preparation and performance.
“So it’s impacted based on the depth at each position and how we think people compete at certain positions with the guys that are currently on our roster.”
The other three teams in the NFC West made impactful picks in the first round while addressing their most obvious needs. The Arizona Cardinals were up first, at No. 7, and tabbed North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper to help protect just-acquired quarterback Carson Palmer. The Cardinals went for an interior lineman, in part, because the three top-rated tackles went in the first four picks – Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 1; Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel to the Gus Bradley-coached Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 2; and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4.
The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco traded up to select the players they were targeting.
The Rams moved from No. 16 to No. 8 in a trade with the Buffalo Bills to draft West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. The Rams lost starting wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson in free agency, and the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Austin was considered the most dynamic offensive player in this draft class.
The 49ers then traded up to No. 18 – from No. 31 – to select LSU safety Eric Reid. As with the Rams at wide receiver, the 49ers had a hole on their last line of defense after Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
The Rams also held the 22nd pick in the first round, but traded it to the Atlanta Falcons. That left the Rams with the 30th pick, which they used to address another need by selecting Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree.
The Seahawks will join in the selection process Friday, when they have the 56th pick overall in the second round and the 87th pick overall in the third round. Last year, the Seahawks came out of the second day of the draft with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (second round), who led the team in tackles and finished second in balloting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; and quarterback Russell Wilson (third), who tied the NFL rookie record by throwing 26 touchdown passes and finished third in balloting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
While the Seahawks don’t have a glaring need, as was the case in their first three drafts under Schneider and Carroll, they could use depth at outside linebacker, on the defensive and offensive lines and a faster option at tight end.
The events of Thursday night will effect which players might be available to the Seahawks on Friday. But as they’ve shown in their first three drafts together, Schneider and Carroll will be prepared for whatever comes their way. Read